Some convergence on projected medium-term supply-demand balances between OPEC and OECD energy watchdog, the IEA, masks serious differences on views over future North American supply, Chinese demand and oil price assumptions, as a recent study comparing their respective scenarios reveals. Differences become more acute through to 2035.

Medium-term, 2011-16, the IEA sees oil demand growth as 400,000 b/d higher than OPEC. Given 2016 demand will be 93mn-94.5mn b/d, this reflects “roughly the same world view,” argues Antoine Halff, Head of the IEA’s Oil Industry and Market Division. OPEC and the IEA both have 2013 non-OPEC supply growth at 900,000 b/d (see graph 2). But, he concedes, looking “at the break down by region,” the study, presented at a 22 January IEA-OPEC-IEF symposium in Riyadh, highlights “significant differences”. And these differences are centered on the two “large game changers in the market, US production and Chinese demand. In both cases there is remarkable uncertainty,” he notes. (CONTINUED - 778 WORDS)